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Semrush Launches Annual Global Issues Index, Inspiring Organizations To Drive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Efforts

Study reveals pressing societal issues across the world; top ranked issue in the US this year is Unemployment, while Mental Health takes top spot globally

Semrush (NYSE: SEMR), a leading online visibility management SaaS platform, today launched its “2023 Annual Global Issues Index,” the first-of-its-kind study designed to inspire organizations driving change in society.

The Index, co-authored by Columbia Professor Jeremy Kagan, reveals the most searched societal issues based on average monthly Google searches between January 2019 and June 2023, and how they rank across 35 countries. The study lists the Top 10 issues in each country, as well as a global aggregate ranking, from a group of 24 core issues including racism, gun control, sustainability, pollution, unemployment, mental health, the war on drugs and more.

“Semrush is known as a force in the industry with reliable data and actionable insights for marketers and businesses of any size. As a company committed to giving back to our own customers and communities, we wanted to use our data collection expertise to build a resource for organizations to do the same,” said Andrew Warden, CMO of Semrush. “The Annual Global Issues Index is a study that every business owner and marketer should become familiar with to see what people in their community are most concerned with, and to seek inspiration from businesses who are already driving positive change.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • This year, the top 5 most pressing societal issues based on search across the world include Mental Health (1), War on Drugs (2), Sustainability (3), Public Health (4), Pollution (5).
  • In the US, the top 5 most searched social issues in 2023 are Unemployment (1), Mental Health (2), War on Drugs (3), Public Health (4), and Sustainability (5).
  • In Europe, online interest in Energy, Pollution, Sustainability, and War on Drugs grew significantly over the past three years.
  • In the Oceania region, online interest in Mental Health this year was highest, followed by Public Health. Concerns about the War on Drugs and Sustainability have been growing steadily since 2021.
  • In the Middle East, online interest in Education, College Debt and Mental Health grew strongest over the past three years.
  • In Africa, Pollution and Sustainability are the highest ranked social issues this year, while in Asia, Mental Health and the War on Drugs rose to the top.

“Understanding the social concerns of different countries can be challenging, especially when trying to compare these issues around the world. Protests, local news, segment surveys, and political debate give some indication, but search volume is an amazing way to gain deeper insights on what populations are concerned with- people with access to the internet turn to search to solve problems and to get more information on topics of interest and debate. The trends we see in the Annual Global Issues Index give us a sense of the changing priorities and relative importance of common topics across nations,” said Jeremy Kagan, Columbia University Professor.

The Annual Global Issues Index was prepared using the Semrush Keyword Magic Tool which collected 157,000+ keywords, phrases and queries related to each of the 24 core issues, to discover the average monthly search volume for each. The total counts were then listed from highest to lowest in each of the 35 countries analyzed, to reveal a Top 10 list in each country, across the last five years.

The Organic Research tool was then used to identify 3 of the most visited CSR initiatives (by subdomain) being led by businesses, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), or government agencies as a direct response to the Top 10 most searched social issues in 2023. Semrush and Jeremy Kagan plan to co-author this study every September, with the intent to look back at the past five years.

To learn more about the most important societal issues of today, the organizations driving the most change and what areas we as a society can improve in, you can download the full report here.

About Semrush

Semrush is a leading online visibility management SaaS platform that enables businesses globally to run search engine optimization, pay-per-click, content, social media and competitive research campaigns and get measurable results from online marketing. Semrush offers insights and solutions for companies to build, manage, and measure campaigns across various marketing channels. Semrush, with over 104,000 paying customers, is headquartered in Boston and has offices in Philadelphia, Trevose, Austin, Dallas, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Belgrade, Berlin, Limassol, Prague, Warsaw, and Yerevan.


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